City on Fire: The Fight for Hong Kong

Scribe. Jun. 2020. 336p. ISBN 9781950354276. pap. $20. POL SCI
In 2019, Hong Kong was rocked by massive protests in response to the government’s attempt to pass a bill that would have allowed accused criminals to be extradited to mainland China. Writer and Hong Kong resident Dapiran provides a thorough description of the events, from the murder of Poon Hui-wing in 2018, which was used as a justification for the extradition bill, to the district council elections in November 2019, which was an overwhelming victory for pro-democracy parties. Although the extradition bill was eventually withdrawn, the protests continued in part due to dissatisfaction with the undemocratic methods in which Hong Kong’s Chief Executive and Legislative Council are elected. Dapiran shows how the protests brought worldwide attention to Hong Kong and civil liberties in an autonomous region. Readers will appreciate how the author places the events of 2019 in the context of earlier episodes in Hong Kong’s history such as the 2014 Umbrella Movement and the 1967 riots.
VERDICT This fascinating read is essential for anyone interested in the current affairs of Hong Kong, specifically, and China, generally. Readers looking for a more academic take on a similar topic should consider Ngok Ma and Edmund W. Cheng’s The Umbrella Movement.
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